December 20, 2012

Canon Supposedly Fixes C300 Color Fringing, but Good Luck Getting the Firmware Update

We reported on an issue a while ago about certain instances where the Canon C300 would show strange color fringing on the edges of very bright or overexposed images. I had suspected this might be a fatal flaw (I was completely wrong), but it seems the issue was probably related to downscaling as some people pointed out at that point in the comments. Now we have confirmation that Canon has a firmware update that supposedly fixes this issue, but not only are you going to have a tough time getting it, but you might even have a hard time getting a Canon representative to acknowledge that it exists.

If you haven't seen it, here is the issue we talked about before -- RED SCARLET is on the left and the Canon C300 is on the right:

This was posted on the Cinema EOS User forum by arctictern:

I recently had this issue whilst shooting a sunset across some mountains. It resulted in red/green - lines/pixels across the high contrast part of the image where the sun dipped behind the mountains. I sent the camera back to Canon complaining of this issue along with another problem that I was experiencing with the camera. To cut a long story short I ended up with a new camera along with a firmware upgrade 1.0.7.1.00 which apparently deals with the fringing issue. Can't guarantee 100% but had no problems since and have tried to recreate with other high contrast scenes!

This was posted by redhouse on the same forum:

Talked with Canon Cinema Eos tech support about firmware upgrade 1.0.7.1.00 earlier today. According to the rep, the firmware does address the color fringing issue and a some other minor (from my point of view) issues. Apparently Canon does not consider it a major firmware upgrade, as they are not announcing it. The firmware is not posted on the web because, at this point, the firmware upgrade can only be done by sending the camera in to Canon service.

On DVXUser, Brian C. Weed posted this:

I'm currently running 1.0.7.1.00 on my C300, which they may have installed when my cam was in for a cleaning and service a few weeks ago. I haven't noticed any fringing for a while, but I haven't really been looking for it either. I usually expose very carefully and got in the habit of avoiding shots that exacerbate the issue.

So it seems like this new firmware update, 1.0.7.1.00, is actually an update that addresses the issue you're seeing above. I should point out that this issue is rare, and one of the reasons Canon is probably not releasing the update just for this problem is exactly for that reason. The other reason as mentioned later in the forum is that it will probably be included in a bigger firmware update sometime in the future. I can definitely understand why a company like Canon would not make something widely available like this, as the Japanese companies are notoriously difficult with firmware updates (and the frequency with which they release them), but still, it's strange that engineers work out a fix for something and then they make it so difficult to actually get that fix into people's hands.

The good news, at least, is that if you've experienced the issue, if you push Canon support a bit, you should be able to send your camera in and get the new firmware update. I don't expect to see a response from Canon since they aren't actually releasing it at the moment, but it would be good for them to acknowledge that they've fixed the problem.

If you would like the firmware update, the Canon Cinema EOS Support line is probably a good place to start, and you can reach them at this number: (855) 246-3367.

What do you think? Has anyone experienced this issue with a C300 after the post in March? Have any of you sent in a camera to Canon, and if so, what firmware is it running?

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25 Comments

I get this on the 5D2 at times too!

December 20, 2012

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Ron

I am very familiar with this look on the 5D2, you can see it here https://vimeo.com/55930598 on 0:11 (might need to turn on HD to see it on the ground between the tires) I always thought this is a moire issue (and if it is related to the down-scaling I'd still take it as such) If this is fixable on a C300 shouldn't it also work on other Canon DSLRs? Probably a processing power issue... I wish someone like the guys at Magic Lantern would figure out a way adapt it... wishful thinking!

December 21, 2012

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I thought I messed up my camera when it is a "Canon" issue. Blond hair would have greenish/blue colors in spots. Cheers.

December 21, 2012

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Ron

Raul, beautiful video by the way. Cheers.

December 21, 2012

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Ron

I just used the c300 for a greenscreen shoot yesterday and was pretty jazzed about the periferal light correction feature with canon ef lenses. I understand the 5DmkIII has CA correction for photos, if the c300 could do that in real time for video it would be a HUGE feature. Cheap glass would look amazing and tax the codec less after the fact. They have to do something about the low iso noise though. Its not an issue for drama, it looks quite good, but not my cup-of-tea for chroma key work...

December 20, 2012

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jd holloway

I get this all the time on my 7D, particularly when shooting 60fps 1280x720. You've changed Canon... You've changed...

December 20, 2012

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canon hasn't changed at all... the success of the 5d/7ds video mode was just an accident. They made a fortune with selling expensive lenses to videoshooters. But now people start to realize that they may have bet on the wrong horse.

December 21, 2012

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gerald

I also would like Canon to be more aggressive on their firmware update schedule...though having to update and keep track of LUTs and things may be a pain if the color science is shifting. Apparently they did tweak the color science for the C100 and while I haven't done the beachside test I haven't noticed color fringing yet. Of course it could be a codec bug instead.

When you think about what might be going through their minds withholding firmware like this that is already dribbling out into the field...consider their longer term strategy. They've mentioned that they are working on continuous video AF for the C line, using their new STM lens line. That's very strategic for the company, along with the possibility of power zoom lenses for ENG-style operation. So they may be waiting until those implementations are finalized (the current variants in the field e.g. the T4i are miserable) before doing a general firmware release.

Why wait? Because they probably want everyone to upgrade so STM will work on all the bodies out in the field, which maximises the market they can try to sell those lenses into. And once they fix the color fringing thing a lot of people won't be very interested in firmware updates or STM lenses and wont bother updating something that's working reliably. So maybe they are making it so you have no choice if you want the firmware fixed you have to support our new lenses too.

Canon tries to get people to buy their lenses, which you can get angry at them about. But contrast that with Sony and RED who try to get you to buy their memory cards. What would you rather be "stuck" with...$5000 worth of lenses (that will still work on the latest camera models for potentially decades ahead) or $5000 worth of memory cards (that will be hopelessly obsolete in months)? But it's all OK. If the online websites didn't hate on Canon 24x7 there'd be nothing to discuss. It's boring rooting for the obvious choice.

December 21, 2012

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Peter

what does that have to do with the obvious fact that Canon cripples their cameras?

December 21, 2012

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mike

The C100 is not a crippled camera. When you consider that it was designed around external recording via a standard HDMI port, it's about as good as they could make it at that price. And that price is extremely competitive for total cost of ownership ready to shoot. I don't see anything deliberately missing...overcrank is limited by the HDMI out.

Now that I've done a multicam shoot with the C100/Ninja and 5D3 and some other DSLRs, I really have no further interest in DSLR video. Once you go to that level it's very hard to come back. Canon did me a favor by forcing me over that threshold. BMD may have also done me a favor by getting Canon to cut $1500 off the price they wanted for the camera.

Anyway enjoy your GH3 and its widdle wenses.

December 21, 2012

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Peter

So what is it in the c100 that you feel is much better than in the 5d3 for example? Just give me some examples I would really appreciate it.

December 21, 2012

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mike

Dynamic range. Resolution. Ergonomics. Workflow.

It's the difference between a purpose-built professional movie camera (that also does stills as a throw-in) and a purpose-built professional stills camera (that also does movies as a throw-in).

I elected to throw out all the DSLR footage for the project. It was excellent footage on DSLR standards. There is no comparison to make however. No amount of massage will get it to that standard...I would have to damage the C100/Ninja footage so people wouldn't check their vision when the DSLRs came on, and I have enough coverage to avoid that.

Sometimes buying cheap just sells yourself short.

December 21, 2012

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Peter

What keeps me from buying the C100 is the PsF wrapped codec, meaning you have to correctly interpret each clip from the camera, otherwise your editing system treats it as interlaced (lower field first) and, second, that you can't change ISO, Kelvin or shutter speed w/o the side grip attached.

December 22, 2012

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You aren't supposed to use the internal recording cards. Those are just safeties/convenience/portability things. The Ninja does the deinterlace and pulldown for you. And if you use 24p then you don't have that problem even with the internal codec.

I take it you are using 25fps because you're in a PAL area. I haven't tried that on the Ninja but I won't be at all surprised if it handles it for you as well.

Friends don't let friends use the C100 without a Ninja.

December 22, 2012

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Peter

Thank you Peter. Just one more question, what workflow do u use?

December 22, 2012

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mike

I capture in cinelock direct to ProRes 422 HQ on the Ninja, using the 3:2 pulldown and 2 or 4 channel PCM audio. I use the naming features of the Ninja. I also use custom white balance and expose for the highlights. The files are ready to edit directly in FCPX with no transcode time. I then run through opening each clip in its own timeline, pulling an initial grade and applying Neat Video NR as needed for high ISO work (I turn off the NR while editing so it doesn't slow everything down to molasses, then turn it back on at the very end). Any keying/matte work can be done then too for e.g. green screen.

I run through and copy and paste those effects to matching clips, favorite and reject the clip segments I want to work with, assemble and align multicam clips as needed, make a black background track as primary storyline and assemble my edits, transitions and titles atop it. I pull secondaries/composites and keyframe any travel mattes as needed. I throw everything into a huge compound clip at the end and pull an overall look (e.g. Magic Bullet Looks, Tiffen DFX, grain, etc.) for the project, turn on the NR drilling down into each clip's own timeline if needed (the one pain in all this, wish they had global control to turn the plugin on and off), and export.

Simple. Sane. Efficient. One camera. One file format. One editing program. A handful of plugins. Cheap. And a whole lot easier than 5DtoRGB/FCP7/Color etc. or Resolve/AE/PPro. FCPX can do all I need other than fancy titles which Motion can do reasonably well for the $50 (OK the built in example templates in Motion suck, but that doesn't mean you can't do your own stuff with it). It's all I personally need, though I understand if I was doing big screen work or something fancier I may need facilities I don't have with those tools. And FCPX is still young and temperamental. But it all works and transparently enough I don't lose the forest for the trees. The C100/Ninja really makes it sing.

December 22, 2012

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Peter

I was one of the people who initially discovered this issue, brought it to Canon, and then discussed it with Brian Weed who was on our show (NeedCreative Podcast - on iTunes!)

Anyway, I wrote canon asking for the firmware. In a recent piece I filmed for TSA about Hurricane Sandy using the C300 primarily (www.tsa.gov - on front page as "The TSA Surge after Sandy") some of the sunset shots showed the color fringe. Now, it's nowhere near as bad as the sample picture in this post. Has never been, and it's very minor and rarely shows up in shots. But it can show up, I did see it in the documentary footage when did not see it in the field and I was very careful about my exposure as I am aware of the issue.

Brian Weed said he found this mysterious new firmware fixed the issue. At first Canon denied it even existed. When I sent them a photo of the firmware installed from Brian, they said all the FW does is correct some Spanish language and refused to install it.

Note - the C100 doesn't have this issue.

Canon's response had been maddening. Where as the problem is, I shouldn't have to worry about it. I love the camera overall and will for a long time, but they really should fix this. Especially when they apparently HAVE but won't admit it.

December 23, 2012

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Thanks for the response Paul. It's still very strange to me that they would secretly install a firmware update and then deny that it exists or does anything of significant value.

December 23, 2012

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avatar
Joe Marine
Editor-at-Large
Shooter/Writer/Director

Even more odd Joe, is what happened after I wrote this. I contacted Rule Boston Camera (where I bought it) after I read even more reports from others that the firmware indeed fixed the problem. This time Canon Support (via email) said there was a "camera adjustment" and to send it in. Today, I got a call from Canon Production Support in NJ. A very nice lady who performs these fixes confirmed that the "camera adjustment" is indeed a firmware upgrade which is "the only known potential fix for this problem" according to Canon's engineers. She read the whole email trail and essentially told me they were misinformed. She's going to clean the camera, apply the FW update, and send it back to me by Friday. I'll check it then, but the word from Brian, Joe Simon, and others is that it works.

I think that perhaps newer builds of the camera have this FW installed by default. (I have serial #2!). I also am pretty sure a bigger firmware update is coming which will roll this fix in. I just don't understand why they don't make that tech note public.

In any case, they're willing to fix it for free, which is a good thing and will bring this year long saga to a close :) As rare as the issue was, it still existed and I was annoyed when i never saw it in the field despite checking carefully.

January 2, 2013

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A follow up - new shooting of same scene that showed c300 fringe before now shows practical 100% fix after "adjustment" and 1.0.7.1.00 firmware by Canon at their repair center.

January 12, 2013

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Hmm sounds like they dont want Magic Lantern getting their hands on the firmware yet- they might be able to squeeze some better features buried in C300 or C100 bodies...

December 28, 2012

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Ash Mills

Thank you for the information. Your blog sparked me to look into having my C300 serviced before the warranty expired.

Here is a blog on my experience with Canon so far. Thanks!

http://randynoland.com/blog/canon-c300-service.html

December 29, 2012

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I sent my C300 PL into Canon to be cleaned due to dust in the ND filter assembly. They updated the firmware to 1.07.1.00 in addition to replacing the ND filter assembly. I had to pay $359 for the cleaning, shipping both ways and lost use of the camera for a week and a half, but at least I got the "secret" firmware.

January 3, 2013

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"In any case, they’re willing to fix it for free, which is a good thing and will bring this year long saga to a close :)"

So they damn well should!! With all the money spent on this camera, they have a moral obligation!

February 8, 2013

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Lee Mullen

We bought a few C300 and C500's a couple months ago. With one of the C300's we had a problem on every shoot with the last two shoots ending with footage like this - http://vimeo.com/84016755 The folks over at Canon can't recreate the problem and refuse to accept that this camera is a lemon and swap it for a new one. After this last round of fun with them they swapped out the sensor and other electronics. The problem is that this camera is now toxic and any little problems with it whether they are user error or not, the producers are going to immediately put it aside and rent. Canon has been awful to deal with through this process and as I was getting upset after my latest conversation with them, I was told by their rep that he didn't like the tone I was taking with them. Do yourself a favor and avoid this product. We certainly won't be buying any more from them.

January 29, 2014

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